Travel Team, by Mike Lupica. Danny Walker’s life is strange with divorced parents; his dad supposed to be have been NBA all-star whose NBA stardom got ruined with a car accident. Danny had always been able to drown his thoughts about that subject with basketball. Unfortunately Danny does not make his Middletown basketball travel team, which he has made for the past 2 years. This team is connected to Danny because his father Richie Walker led his Middletown basketball travel team all the way to winning the national championship. Danny knows he should have made the team as well as most of his friends and his parents. Danny feels that the reason he didn’t make the team is his height, which has always been a problem since 1st grade, when he first realized he was shorter than everyone else. One friend that particularly knows that Danny should have made the team is Ty Ross who was the star of all of his past Middletown basketball travel teams and also made and also made it this year. When Richie Walker comes on one of his random visits to Danny and his mom Ali Walker, he finds out that Danny didn’t make his team and also knows he should’ve. Richie Walker finds out that the person behind this is Ty Ross’s dad Jeff Ross, who is nothing like the nice Ty. Feeling that his duty was to help his son through this, Richie Walker starts a basketball team of volunteer 7th grade kids who wanted to play basketball, which included Danny and his best friend Will Stoddard. After many bad practices and losses by a large margin, many kids including Danny started losing hope in the team. Eventually the Warriors (the name because of Richie Walker’s NBA team the Golden State Warriors) started having better practices and finally won a game, but you’ll have to read the rest in the actual book.
I feel this book is appropriate for ages 10+ due to strong language and some mild references to drugs. Although I still feel that this book is very inspirational, I also feel that it adds a twist on sports novels on account of, all other sport novels usually have the main character shoot the last basket, catch the last pass, hit the last pitch, or do something at the end to win the game for their team, but in this book the main character Danny Walker doesn’t do that. What he does do is something you can also read in the book. I also thought that it was witty when Mike Lupica had the character Jeff Ross be the second-best on the championship travel team because he was one of the main people on deciding if Danny Walker would make the current 7th grade team or not. He might have made the decision to not let Danny in because he was angry at Richie Walker for getting all the attention from the Middletown basketball travel team that won it all. Another point from the book that I thought was creative was the fact that Ty Ross was Danny’s friend even though Jeff Ross did not like Danny. Overall I feel that Mike Lupica’s book Travel Team is a well-written, inspirational, creative sports novel that is written just like any great classic.
~Adarsh, Teen Book Reviewer